Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Samuel D. Museus

Second Advisor

Katalin Szelenyi

Third Advisor

Mitchel J. Chang


Interracial interactions between college students are responsible for important learning outcomes, however many colleges and universities have failed to purposefully encourage students to interact across racial backgrounds. As a result of a lack purposefully facilitated cross-racial interactions (CRIs), fewer interracial interactions occur on U.S. campuses and this has diminished the important learning outcomes that those interactions accrue. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore how 25 White and Asian American students, within two divergent campus settings, experienced interracial interactions. Findings demonstrated that environmental and individual characteristics shaped how students experienced CRIs. Environmental factors that influenced CRIs included the quality of the campus racial climate as well as students' perceptions of the environment. Individual characteristics that shaped how students experienced CRIs included whether students had been able to develop an advanced sense of racial identity as well as a history of pre-college CRIs. Based upon student feedback, I recommended that campuses, regardless of how structurally diverse they may be, assess the campus racial climate and implement initiatives designed to ensure that CRIs, and important associated learning outcomes, are purposefully facilitated by educators.